8 Wonderful Things to do in Caye Caulker

Swim with nurse sharks, dive the world’s second-largest barrier reef, watch magical sunsets, explore the tiny colourful island, hang out at Koko King. These are just some of the wonderful things to do in Caye Caulker. Read on for more!
Pristine white-sand beach with palm trees overlooking the turquoise ocean and a wagon that says 'Go Slow', the motto for Caye Caulker, Belize
The island's very apt motto
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Go Slow! The island’s apt motto that you’ll see plastered everywhere telling you what to expect as soon as you arrive. This Belizean tropical paradise is as laidback as it gets! 

Spend your days lapping up the sun beer in hand, swimming in the warm shallow ocean, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or even snorkelling with sharks.

Caye Caulker is a small Caribbean Island located in Ambergris Caye, off the east coast of Belize. It’s divided into two parts by a section known as ‘The Split’ (more on that later). 

To the south, is the island’s only settlement, Caye Caulker Village, with a population of around 1300 and growing. To the north, the island is home to a dense mangrove forest and diverse birdlife and is protected by a forest reserve. Surrounding the whole area is the spectacular Belize Barrier Reef. 

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A treasure in the Caribbean Sea, you can walk around this island in around an hour. Eight kilometres long and a kilometre and a half wide at its longest part.

Despite its size, Caye Caulker packs a lot in and has a lot to offer its visitors. Be prepared to fall head over heels and end up staying longer than expected.

I (Helen) was in the middle of a two-month trip around Central America and Caye Caulker was my first stop after a pretty hectic three weeks in Mexico. I was looking forward to some chill-out time before spending two and a half weeks in Guatemala.

Long stretch of gorgeous white sand beach leading to tropical mangrove trees overlooking the ocean, Caye Caulker, Belize
A true paradise island

In this guide, I’m going to cover 8 wonderful things to do in Caye Caulker before moving on to the logistics; how to get there, how long to spend, currency etc.

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Contents

Things to do in Caye Caulker

Dive the Worlds Second-Largest Barrier Reef

Spanning almost 300 kilometres, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Home to several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, estuaries, coastal lagoons and atolls, it’s one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet! 

The reef is a significant habitat for several threatened species, including marine turtles, West Indian manatees and the American marine crocodile.

One of the most amazing things to do in Caye Caulker is to dive amongst this vibrant underwater world. Check out the most famous of Belize’s dive sites, the Blue Hole, or head to Shark Ray Alley where the crystal clear waters are infested with nurse sharks and rays.

Diving with tropical coloured fish and coral on the Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most amazing things to do in Caye Caulker
Diving here was unreal!

Visit The Split

The Split was formed in 1961 when devastating Hurricane Hattie hit and split Caye Caulker in two. In between the two sections, is a narrow channel of turquoise water about 50 metres across that canoes and small boats used to conveniently pass from one side of the island to another and helped aid the cleanup efforts.

It’s now a place where everyone comes to hang out, have a few drinks at the popular Lazy Lizard beach bar, snorkel, sunbathe, jump off the diving platform and whatever else takes your fancy. 

For a tropical paradise island, there aren’t that many places where people actually go swimming. The Split’s clean and calm water is the most popular spot so many sure you put this on your list of things to do in Caye Caulker.

Popular with locals and tourists alike, it’s got a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

Benches on the sand overlooking the ocean at The Split, Caye Caulker, Belize
This is one of the most popular places to hang out in Caye Caulker

Hang Out at Koko King

The northern Caye Caulker island remains largely untouched. Full of mangrove trees and a lack of infrastructure, compared to the southern island, visiting Koko King was one of my favourite things to do in Caye Caulker.

Panoramic view of the Koko King Bar jutting out over the turquoise ocean, Caye Caulker, Belize
This is such a great spot to spend your days

Here you’ll find a bar on stilts jutting out over the calm, clear sea, a swimming pool, plenty of loungers, large inner tubes and swings over the water.

It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Pop over, enjoy a bucket of beer and chill out for the day. At night, if you just can’t bear to tear yourself away, the bar turns into a bit of a club.

There’s no road to take you to Koko King, but they have water taxi’s every half an hour running from mid-morning to well into the evening. Alternatively, you can swim, paddleboard or kayak!

Helen sitting on a swing overlooking the emerald waters at Koko King, Belize
I could easily live here!

Walk Around the Island

Caye Caulker is super easy to get around on foot. To be honest, you don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to transport options!

At 8 kilometres long and a kilometre and a half across at its widest, it’s a pretty tiny island. There are areas where it’ll take you just two minutes to walk from one side to the other! 

One of the best things to do in Caye Caulker is to explore the island on foot. I got up early a couple of mornings and went for a run. Something I really loved was how colourful the whole island is. Every building you go past is a different colour! 

Colourful buildings, sandy roads and palm trees of Caye Caulker centre, Belize
The whole island is so colourful
There’s a single path that runs the whole way around the island so it’s fairly tricky to get lost. Heading south out of town you’ll soon hit the more residential areas and see stylish houses overlooking the ocean.

Our Top Tip: be aware that there are crocodiles here, some parts of the island are quite swampy. They’ll run off at the faintest sound of someone approaching so don’t let it put you off exploring. They’re more scared of people.

Snorkel the Turquoise Waters

If you feel like you’re going to miss out because you don’t have your PADI qualification, fear not, Caye Caulker has some incredible snorkelling. 
 
The water’s so clear and has incredible visibility you can see far beneath the surface. A lot of the aquatic life and colourful corals are also quite near the surface of the ocean so the best view is with a snorkel.
 
Even if you’ve got your PADI and plan on doing some diving, I’d still recommend going snorkelling. 
 
Snorkelling the crystal clear ocean full of vibrant-coloured marine life is one of the most memorable things to do in Caye Caulker
You can see how close to the surface all of this marine life is!
For some of the best snorkelling, make sure to check out Shark Ray Alley. The area is jam-packed with nurse sharks and rays and they have a great tolerance of humans. The rays will even swim up to you inviting you to touch their wings (although it’s best not to touch them).
 
It’s also pretty common to see manatees. These large and gentle “sea cows” tend to be found in shallow waters as they feed on seagrass, mangrove leaves and algae. Snorkelling in Caye Caulker is an unforgettable experience!
A friendly Ray skimming the sandy ocean floor, Belize
A friendly ray coming to say hello

Watch a Sensational Sunset

One of the best things to do in Caye Caulker in the evening is to watch the sunset. My favourite places to watch the sunset were The Split or Koko King. 
Watching the fiery sunsets at Koko King is one of the top things to do in Caye Caulker
Make sure you stay for at least one sunset at Koko King
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Watching the sun descend into the Caribbean Sea and light up the sky different shades of oranges and reds is something truly magical. You’ll never experience the same sunset twice, mother nature really outdoes herself here.

Whether you’re at The Split or Koko King, gather your friends, your partner or even come alone and celebrate the last of the sunshine. Grab a drink from the bar and appreciate the calm that’ll stay long after the sun has gone down.
The sun lit up different shades of reds and oranges over the Caribbean Sea, Belize
The sky was never lit up the same way twice

Swim with Sharks

So I briefly covered this under the snorkelling section, but the experience deserves its own mention.

If you only have time for one trip while you’re in Caye Caulker, make it this one. Shark Ray Alley is the most common place to see these majestic animals but you can also spot them in other areas around the reef.

If you have your PADI qualification, I’d recommend going diving as Shark Ray Alley can get pretty busy with boats and other swimmers.

There are plenty of sharks to go around but it can spoil the atmosphere a little. When I went diving, I only saw one other group near us. The sharks were also more intrigued by us rather than the promise of food from the tour operators so I felt the experience was more authentic. They’d swim along next to us for a while to see where we were going.

If the thought of swimming with the sharks is quite nerve-wracking, you can get a great view from the boat. The tour operators throw little bits of fish in the water that attract the sharks so you’ll still gain a great experience without having to get in the water with them.

Swimming with hundreds of nurse sharks in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea is one of the most incredible things to do in Caye Caulker, Belize
This was one of the most memorable things I did in Caye Caulker

Enjoy Caye Caulker’s Nightlife

Last on our list of things to do in Caye Caulker is to enjoy the nightlife. 

Caye Caulker‘s compact centre manages to pack in a lot of bars, restaurants and clubs. It doesn’t get super wild and crazy but you’ll definitely be able to have a good night out. 

It’s mostly laidback reggae bars with rustic tables and chairs, swings hanging from the ceiling and a beachfront seating. You’ll also find a few bars open until the early hours of the morning where you can dance the night away if that’s what you fancy.

It’s easy to spot the more lively places and also easy to avoid them depending on what you’re after. Most bars run specials on alternating days.

How to Get to Caye Caulker

Getting to Caye Caulker is easy. Once you arrive in Belize City, there are two water taxi docks offering services to Caye Caulker: the San Pedro Express and the Ocean Ferry. They’re pretty much the same price and almost next to each other. Return tickets are open-ended and valid for 3 months. 

Always check the schedules. The ferry takes approximately an hour, however, they work on ‘island time’ so arrive in plenty of time in case it leaves early. Also, plan for it leaving late; life here is very laidback. The weather can also impact timings.

Before you arrive in Caye Caulker, make sure you know where your accommodation is. The island is tiny and chances are you’ll be able to walk to where you’re staying no problem. There isn’t really any accommodation more than a 15-minute walk away. There are golf cart taxi’s when you arrive offering to take you for $5 USD which is very steep for the distance you’ll be going. 

Bear in mind, the roads in Caye Caulker are pretty much sand. I was travelling with a backpack which was fine but I saw some people struggling with suitcases over the sand (which the locals find quite amusing!).

For those with more of a budget, you can actually fly to Caye Caulker! Tropic Air has a few flights a day and they take around 15 minutes. 

If you’re travelling from Mexico, you can also take a boat from Chetumal to Caye Caulker via San Pedro. The boat takes just over an hour and a half from Chetumal to San Pedro where it has to clear immigration before continuing on for another half an hour. You’ll have to pay the Mexico departure fee as well as your ferry ticket which is around $55 USD.

How Long Should I spend in Caye Caulker?

However long you choose to spend in Caye Caulker, allow for at least one extra night. It’s a place to fall head over heels in love with, get off the grid and completely unwind. I had planned on spending two nights here and left after four. And that was only because I was on a bit of a schedule.

You can get a taste for the island with two nights and I definitely wouldn’t recommend just one.

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Everything Else You Need to Know

What currency do I need?

Belize uses the Belize dollar, which, at the time of writing is 1 USD is 2.02 BZD.

What plug do I need?

Belize uses three types of plug; A, B and G. Type A is two flat prongs as used in North America, B is two flat prongs and an extra pin for grounding and G is three rectangular pins in a triangle shape, as used in the UK. 

So, whatever type of plug you have, bring an adapter just in case. Voltage is 110/220 V.
 

When is the best time to visit Caye Caulker?

The best time to visit Belize, in general, is from late November to mid-April which is the country’s dry season. June to October there can be more than 20 days of rain a month!
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Do I need a visa?

As a UK passport holder, you don’t need a visa for stays up to 30 days.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on wonderful things to do in Caye Caulker and found it useful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or contact us 🙂 

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